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How Much Does a Pro Video Commercial Cost

Video Production

The video production market has undergone a very big transformation over the last 15 years. The availability of video recording equipment and its prices have changed a lot, which has directly influenced the lowering of the entry threshold into the industry. This fact has significantly changed the price range for the production of commercial videos. Nowadays, we can actually make a video using a mobile phone or a DSLR camera. To many people, especially those who are expected to pay for it, at first glance, it seems that they cannot see the difference in quality between footage from a phone and footage from a professional camera. However, in the end, it turns out that the consumer in the perception, even if he or she cannot tell where the difference comes from, does see it. Good advertising is still the reason why we buy a product from one manufacturer and not another.


The Cost of Advertising Production: What Options Are There?

It is worth pointing out briefly why there are such big differences in production costs. Without going into too much detail, we have 2 options to choose from. One is the freelancer and the other is an agency or production house. It is logical that the agency will pay more, but the question is why? So, the service and the whole production process carried out by a good agency is not just a capable camera operator but a whole team of people who work for the comfort and peace of mind of the client. With freelancers it can be different. It is possible to come across a capable and responsible person, and it is also possible to lose the money invested and have a poor-quality video several months after the agreed deadline. At an advertising agency, the entire project is managed by a dedicated account manager who takes care of every stage of the video production. It is his or her responsibility to communicate fully with the production and post-production division. It is up to the client to accept the various stages. A separate article could be written about the differences, advantages and disadvantages of working with an agency and a freelancer, which we will certainly do.

I Want a Commercial! Where Do I Start?

The first question that arises when talking to a potential client is: how much does it cost to make a video? First of all, we recommend that you consider what kind of video you need and what function it should fulfil. The answer to this question will give us the components of a quote for the production of such a video. Once we have determined our expectations and goals, we can begin the process of pricing and selecting the appropriate form and technique of production. Goals can range from sales, to employer branding, to engaging instructional videos.

What Does the Production Cost Depend On?

In professional advertising production (and we are talking about high-budget production), there are no fixed amounts for particular types of commercials. Each project is priced from scratch, and it depends on: the concept, the commercial location, the number of filming days, the size of the crew, the number of actors involved in the production, the set design, the level of complexity of editing, post-production, colour grading, voice-over and many other components. Some production houses do not take on commissions below the amount of 25,000 USD/EUR because it is not lucrative for them. This is logical, because the time they have to spend organising the production and the in-house costs incurred do not give a margin that allows such a company to survive. The fact that a production budget may seem huge, e.g. at 100,000 USD/EUR does not at all mean that this is 50% of the agency's salary. Professional film production is simply expensive. The value of the equipment used during filming is usually worth millions of zloties, and the people who operate it must have the expertise to act quickly, professionally and not waste the client's time and money.

Stages of Advertising Production

A good commercial is not just about an expensive camera or a large film crew. It is first and foremost a good idea. This is the first and most important step in advertising production. Without a good idea, even the best equipment will not help achieve a quality message. For this, you also need a director and a very skilful copywriter. Then in order not to waste the idea, you need to dress it up in the right visual quality. And this is where the matching of means to concept begins. Not everything that looks good on paper always looks attractive on screen. This is why experienced people take reality and budget possibilities into account when creating a film concept, so that a super concept does not turn out to be a travesty of our advertising. So what if we imagine that the CEO of a company reaches the top of a mountain, if we do not have the budget to go with a team to the mountains.

It often happens that a client comes to us with their own idea and vision. Then we always adapt the concept to the actual reality, so that the main idea remains, the quality is preserved, but it fits into the budget.

The cost of a good advertising director on average varies from EUR/USD 2000 to even 10,000. It all depends on the product or service we are to advertise and whether the concept is to be for only film or the creation of a whole coherent advertising campaign.

Film Crew

Once we have accepted a good idea, we move on to budgeting. There are a lot of components to the budget that nobody outside the industry usually thinks about. ‘Big’ advertising industries are governed by their own rules and working conditions, so all components have to be taken care of in the estimated cost. Starting with the production manager and their assistant, as they take care of us and our production throughout the entire creation process, as well as catering for the film crew. It is important to remember that a filming day involves 11 hours of work! Any overtime the crew does should also be included in the cost estimate, especially when plans do not manage to fit into the standard working hours. A standard film crew consists of a production manager, director, cinematographer, editor, camera assistant, lighting master, lighting assistants, a sound operator and if necessary, make-up, stylist and set designers.

This is the basic make-up of a crew that can be found on the lowest budget assumptions. The cost of such a basic team usually oscillates around USD/EUR 15,000 for one day of shooting. Subsequently, depending on the type of shooting and the conditions found, the team is expanded by additional people. At each stage of production, the various production teams are involved. In a nutshell, the making of a commercial is divided into three stages: pre-production - where we agree all the details with the client; production - where we shoot; and finally editing and post-production.

In summary, it is impossible to quote a clear or specific price for the production of a commercial without a detailed brief and above all, without knowing the concept to be created. However, it is possible to try to average out the minimum cost of producing a simple quality commercial and in our experience, this is an amount starting at 20,000 USD/EUR .

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